If you’re a fan of extreme horror cinema, there’s a huge chance you have at least heard of Unearthed Films, a distribution company founded in 2002 and specialised in independent horror films from around the world establishing a unique label brand for fans of cutting edge “horror” cinema. Over the intervening years, their ever-growing catalogue of unique titles has attracted a dedicated customer base and made Unearthed Films the “go to” place for discerning horror fans. They distribute extreme horror movies in all media including theatrical, home video, television, and video-on-demand.
For this entrance in my extreme horror series I teamed up with the guys from Unearthed to bring you, fans of disturbing and depraved cinema, four titles from their catalogue: three of them have been sent to me from the Unearthed team (thank you guys!), whereas I rented the fourth one on Vimeo, for pretty cheap.
This article is the most comprehensive in the whole series, as the four movies I’m about to discuss come from different countries, vary in style of filmmaking and have different way to assess narrative structures. Be warned, though: one of this four movies is the most disturbing and extreme horror film in the series so far! Are you guys ready? Let’s dive into these insane horror films.
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DIS (USA, 2018) – DIS is about an infernal descent into the root of the mandrake legend and an ex-soldier who wanders too close to that legend and the unnameable terror behind it. The movie’s opening showcases very well what Unearthed Films are all about: a naked woman is tied up in a disgusting building, when a masked assailant starts fingering her and, as soon as she reaches the orgasm, he cuts her throat. Unfortunately for fans of the extreme, after that DIS slows down and, for the next 40 minutes or so, we follow the ex-soldier-now-hunter going around the forest and trying to catch some preys with the worst hunting techniques imaginable. Fortunately, the last 15 minutes turn into a hardcore fever dream, where the main character fights the masked killer (or monster) we saw at the beginning of the movie.
DIS is a mixed-bag: very violent and nasty moments intertwine with seemingly pointless scenes of a guy wondering around the woods. Cinematography, gritty look and feel, and camera-work are quite artsy and interesting to watch, but the pacing is truly maddening. Still, if you’re only interested in disturbing and cutting-edge content, DIS delivers that in the beginning and third act.
American Guinea Pig: The Song of Solomon (USA, 2017) – In the last article of this series I talked about the original Guinea Pig movies, which mostly don’t hold up to their infamous reputation. The Song of Solomon is another story, though. In this movie, the Catholic Church is trying to save an innocent soul from the ravages of satanic possession: wave after wave of holy men are sent to confront the possessed, who rips them apart one by one in the most gruesome and gory way imaginable! From the possessed girl taking her inner organs out of her body and eating them to one of the exorcists carving his own eyes out, Song of Solomon is a marvel in gruesome and morbid special effects. The movie plays out as a collection of fucked up episodes that showcase very disturbing ideas and don’t shy away from executing them fully on screen. Fans of extreme horror cinema would probably very pleased with this entrance in the American Guinea Pig series.
Although the acting is, for the most part, atrocious and the technical features are amateur at best, The Song of Solomon is a twistedly entertaining, fast-paced, ultra-violent compilation of guts and gore!
A Record of Sweet Murderer (Japan, 2014) – Partially filmed as a mocumentary, with the cameraman being one of the characters, and partially shot in third person perspective, A Record of Sweet Murder is my favourite out of the four movies featured in this article. The story is very cool and simple: a South Korean journalist and a Japanese cameraman in South Korea are invited to an abandoned apartment one day by a murderer who claims he has already killed 25 people. He also adds that if he completes the killing of all 27 on his list, not only his dead friend will be resurrected, but also all 27 will come back to life: a divine voice had told the murderer it would be so. Is the guy just a dangerous lunatic or is there some truth behind this insane story? The first thing you need to know about A Record of Sweet Murderer is that most of the movie takes place in one room… and it’s executed in a single, long take! Due to this brave directorial choice, everything that happens in this film – from verbal confrontations to fist-fights to rape scenes – looks completely real! It definitely helps that the killer does an outstanding acting job: he’s so believable and authentic in every single scene! Yet, A Record of Sweet Murderer is a very climactic and gripping picture, that starts off rather tame and end up being incredibly effective, almost jaw-dropping.
A Record of Sweet Murder isn’t just a film for fans of extreme and disturbing cinema; it’s a truly great picture with compelling story, amazing acting, masterful filmmaking and a bit of heart to it. In fact, I’d say this is the most accessible out of the four movies featured in this article. It still has full-on rape sequences and torture, but it somewhat feels less exploitive and more tasteful than many similar flicks. Highly recommended for everyone, I really loved it!
Visceral: Between the Ropes of Madness (Chile, 2012) – Ladies and gentlemen, I present you Visceral, the most extreme and disturbing film so far in this series! This movie has no real story: basically, we follow a washed-up boxer – with serious mental problems – killing, torturing, raping, mutilating everyone on his path. Visceral has everything a fan of hardcore horror can hope for: extreme violence (probably the most extreme I’ve ever seen on screen), necrophilia, torture, rape, next-level BDSM, cannibalism, castration… just to give you an idea, the opening scene shows the main character using a tied-up woman as punching bag! Visceral is the type of film where every scene seems to have reached the pinnacle of insanity, but the next scene somehow surpasses it! Some ideas in this movie are so insane and fucked up that truly need to be seen to be believed… although I must say that even diehard fans of disturbing cinema might not be able to endure them.
Despite the lack of story and budget, Visceral manages to craft fantastic special effects (which, of course, are super gory and gruesome) and features some very interesting filmmaking choices in terms of camera angles and editing. Even the industrial soundtrack and sound design, which got on my nerves pretty fast, serves its purpose in making this viewing experience as hard and unnerving as possible. Are you in search of the most extreme horror film ever made? Try Visceral, if you dare!
Are you curious about these films? Click on the images below to get a copy:
[A Record of Sweet Murderer isn’t available on DVD or Blu-Ray]
So, this was a lot of fun… in a very twisted way, that is. I want to thank you once again the people at Unearthed Films for giving me the opportunity to check some of their movies for free. Please make sure to check their website for more disturbing/extreme/cutting-edge horror films: I’m sure some of them will be featured in next articles in this series! Have you guys seen any of these fucked up movies? If so, what did you think of them? Let me know in the comments, and I’ll see you next month with some Japanese arthouse extreme horror!
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